Small is the new green
Increasing environmental awareness along with economic and demographic trends favor smaller house sizes. Many cities are doing their part by updating zoning codes to allow cottage housing and small backyard cottages (detached ADU's) on residentially zoned lots. Seattle and Portland are two cities which allow backyard cottages up to 800 sq. ft. in size. These small houses provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock, density and affordability. Continue reading for more information about small house design and Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage.
Wednesday, September 12
The Seattle City Council has recently put a moratorium on small lot infill housing. A recent Seattle Times article creates some confusion by naming "backyard houses" in their title. What is being impacted is the development of new houses on substandard sized lots. A so called loophole exists because the city recognizes existing buildable lots that are below the minimum size allowed in each zone that existed before the current zoning codes took affect in the 1950's. Houses on these lots can be built to approximately the same height and bulk as houses on standard lots. As a result horribly overscaled houses being built on minuscule lots throughout Seattle. New regulations will most likely further limit the height and bulk of houses built on these lots. We are in support of increased regulation of these houses and have commented on the record that solar access for the adjacent property to the north should also be regulated as it is for some multi-family developments.
The scale of backyard cottages is already restricted to lots with a minimum of 4,000 sq. ft. and may be no more than 800 sq. ft. in size with a maximum ridge height of 22ft.
To read more from the city council Council News Release.